Histological aspects of the mucosa of the spermaceti chamber of a dwarf sperm whale
Keywords:Cetacean, Histology, Sound production, Spermaceti, Kogiidae
The sound producing apparatus of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) presents a complex anatomic structure composed of melon, spermaceti, phonic lips, vocal cap, case, papillae, spermaceti chamber and other airspaces, as well as facial muscles involved in sound production. The spermaceti chamber rests on the caudal portion of the premaxilla, with part of its mucosa covered with spherical/oval-shaped structures (approximately 1 to 2 mm in diameter), compatible with vesicles (previously referred to as “papillae”). Macroscopical examination revealed whitish, firm, widely and irregularly distributed vesicular mucosa on the premaxillary portion of the spermaceti chamber of a K. sima specimen stranded on the coast of Santos (southeastern Brazilian coast). Upon microscopic examination, walls of connective tissue with abundant type I collagen forming vesicles with an internal space or cavity filled with a small amount of eosinophilic substance compatible with mucoproteic fluid were observed. The base of such vesicles presented glands within the connective tissue, probably responsible for fluid production. This study describes the histology of the mucosa of the spermaceti chamber of a K. sima specimen and characterizes the glands associated with fluid production.
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